SECAUCUS, N.J. —Like every Tuesday during
the season, it's time for the latest edition of the WNBA.com editorial staff's
Power Rankings. The defending champion Shock reclaim the top spot thanks to
a narrow win in Indiana. Elsewhere, Connecticut continues its impressive rise
while Sacramento and New York both tumble. Take a look at our list, and let
us know what you think in our Fan Voice.
The Shock are back where they want to be after
a 3-0 week that saw them sandwich narrow wins over Eastern Conference foes
New York and Washington around a nine-point win in Indiana. Though the victory
came after Tamika Catchings left in the third quarter with a foot strain,
Detroit got plenty of scoring from Katie Smith and Deanna Nolan. And despite
being without the re-injured Cheryl Ford on Saturday against the Mystics,
Plenette Pierson and Katie Feenstra stepped up with solid performances.
They've looked beatable at times, but they're still the favorites in the
It shouldn't be a surprise that
the Fever are struggling through their first two-game losing streak of the
season while all-world forward and MVP candidate Tamika Catchings is on
the shelf for 2-3 weeks with a partial tear of the plantar fascia in her
left foot. But all is not lost in Indiana, where Tammy Sutton-Brown and
Tamika Whitmore will step up their scoring in their teammate's absence.
They'll also have to clamp down defensively with a difficult four-game Western
road swing on the horizon for this week.
A surprising overtime loss to the Sky aside,
the Silver Stars continue to impress and now lead the West by two games
over the Monarchs. Becky Hammon has been simply remarkable nearly all season
long and fellow All-Star Sophia Young has averaged 20.8 points and 7.8 boards
over her last four games. The loss of Erin Buescher for the rest of the
year still stings, but Vickie Johnson, Helen Darling and rookie Camille
Little should fill her role adequately.
As if the Mercury didn't have
enough scoring firepower, Aussie Penny Taylor has kicked her game up a notch
this season, is leading the league in scoring this month (23.3 ppg) and
has added her name to the list of the WNBA's elite players. Oh yeah, and
Phoenix still has 2006 scoring champ Diana Taurasi and 2006 All-Rookie teamer
Cappie Pondexter. If they can be just a touch more consistent on the defensive
end, they'll avoid bad losses like Friday's at home against L.A. This is
a team capable of shaking things up if they make the playoffs.
Like the Shock, the Sun are in the midst of a
six-game winning streak. But Connecticut's streak is much more meaningful
as it has brought them back from the brink and into position to make the
playoffs. The trio of Katie Douglas, Lindsay Whalen and Asjha Jones has
been enormous during their run -- especially as Nykesha Sales was again
on the bench Sunday after suffering what was thought to be a mild concussion
-- and Greek rookie Evanthia Maltsi has contributed solid minutes on the
wing. Mike Thibault earned his 100th career win Sunday over the Comets.
The Monarchs, suddenly fallen
on hard times, have lost three straight for the first time since July of
last year. Minor injuries to All-Stars Rebekkah Brunson and Yolanda Griffith
have limited their contributions and forced Adrian Williams into more substantial
minutes off the pine. Sixth woman Kara Lawson has been solid and Nicole
Powell continues to impress at the three, but Ticha Penicheiro and Chelsea
Newton need to be more involved offensively.
Seattle stumbled to a 1-2 mark last week, and
their only win came against the Liberty on a last-ditch three-pointer from
Sue Bird, her only hoop of the game. Still, the return of Bird from arthroscopic
knee surgery should help, though Tanisha Wright was solid at the point in
her absence. Lauren Jackson is probably now the leading candidate for league
MVP, though she needs help on the scoring front for the Storm to be successful.
Iziane Castro Marques had a huge game in New York, and if she can continue
to pile up the points, this can be a dangerous team heading down the stretch.
Chicago had lost five in a row
before taking its last two in shocking fashion against then-league leaders
Indiana and San Antonio. The star for the Sky of late has been guard Jia
Perkins, who has led the team in scoring in each of the last five games
and averaged 21.4 points a night. All-Star Candice Dupree has been quiet
over the last week, but Armintie Price is continuing her climb up the rookie
ranks and has become a legitimate rebounding force despite standing only
The hard-luck Liberty have lost four straight,
their last three by a total of 13 points. Despite a career-high 31 from
Cathrine Kraayeveld Friday against Houston and despite the continued improvement
of third-year center Janel McCarville, the Libs are the lowest scoring squad
in the WNBA. Still, with regular players like Loree Moore, Erin Thorn and
Ashley Battle, this is a balanced, potentially dangerous team capable of
playing with anyone in the league.
A tough loss Saturday at Detroit
put a bit of a damper on their recent play, but the Mystics have still gone
9-5 in their last 14 games and sit only one game out of the fourth playoff
spot in the East. All-Stars Alana Beard and DeLisha Milton-Jones continue
to lead the way under interim head coach Tree Rollins. Monique Currie needs
to be a regular offensive contributor and Nakia Sanford needs to be a more
reliable presence in the post for this team to jump back into the postseason.
But it's not out of the question... not by a long shot.
ESPN2 analyst and WNBA.com blogger Carolyn Peck
predicted a week ago that the Comets will be spoilers for a lot of teams
hoping to sneak into the playoffs, and they played that role to a T Friday
in New York. Tina Thompson is still an All-Star, Michelle Snow still has
a ton of as-yet untapped potential and recently re-signed Tamecka Dixon
has been Houston's best player over the last several weeks.
The Sparks had lost seven straight
before surprising the Mercury Friday in Phoenix behind a career-high 24
points and 12 boards from rookie Sidney Spencer. This is a team without
a lot of firepower right now, especially with LaToya Thomas sidelined and
Temeka Johnson playing at less than 100 percent after knee surgery in February.
Taj McWilliams-Franklin is still excellent in the middle, but rookie Spaniard
Marta Fernandez has cooled down significantly after a smashing start to
As if the Lynx weren't facing enough adversity
with a seven-game losing streak, a rookie coach, a rookie point guard in
Lindsey Harding who was lost for the season and a roster with four other
first-year players, All-Star Seimone Augustus went down hard Friday against
Washington, injured her hip and did not return. Minnesota went on to lose
that game and again Sunday in Phoenix (to run their streak to nine), but
Augustus was back on the court, scoring 23 points to up her season average
to 22.6, good for second in the league.
Last week, Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph University courageously took the floor for her first college game, refusing to let an inoperable brain tumor keep her from achieving her dream – and WNBA stars Elena Delle Donne and Tamika Catchings were on hand to lend their support.